Mr. Baek makes rivals of Jung Seok-won and Lee Joon
MBC’s Mr. Baek appears to have gone on a casting spree this week; it only confirmed its two lead stars (Shin Ha-kyun and Jang Nara) recently, and now has announced three more names. About time, too, since the show only has a month till its November premiere and time’s ticking away. (It’s not unheard of to cast the supporting leads this late, though the timing did seem a bit pressed in securing the two main leads.)
The new additions are Jung Seok-won (Haeundae Lovers) and Lee Joon (Gap-dong), who are confirmed, while Park Ye-jin (I Love Lee Tae-ri) is not. The drama’s set in a hotel group that’s run by an elderly chairman, who turns into Shin Ha-kyun when he finds himself suddenly turned young. (By the way, they’ve changed grandpa’s name again so I’m just going to assume it’ll change a half-dozen more times. We can figure it out when the drama airs.) Jung Seok-won plays a capable corporate director who has his utmost trust, being smart and ambitious, though perhaps also morally questionable: Once the grandpa chairman disappears (because he’s turned young), Jung starts entertaining thoughts of usurping his position.
Lee Joon is set up to be a rival to Jung Seok-won; he’s the chairman’s son, Choi Dae-han (a pun meaning “Utmost,” har), and his father is always comparing him to Jung. He’ll be the subject of gossip and scorn at the company, getting called scum and dirtbag behind his back by the employees, partly because of his status and partly because he’s prone to attracting trouble. He also eschews capitalist principles and thinks that you should only spend as much money as you need… which is partly commendable, and partly really annoying coming from a guy who’s born into wealth and privilege. Sounds like a character I could feel for, and he’ll start to change slowly as he meets our heroine (Jang Nara) when she enters the company as a rookie employee.
Lee Joon just played a second-generation chaebol in his last drama, although I guess we can’t compare this fantasy rom-com to the serial-killer mystery Gap-dong. At least I hope not. I’d like to see Lee Joon playing someone normal this time — he was great at being unbalanced and psychotic, but you know, it’s just hard to sympathize with a guy who pulls the “I’m so misunderstood” card when he’s killing a bunch of people. I think the difference may be that in Gap-dong I was saying “poor little rich boy” in sarcasm, while in this drama I just might mean it earnestly.
Initial news reports stated that Park Ye-jin was in the final stages of signing on, but later stories are backpedaling a bit, so her casting seems uncertain. The character she is considering is merely described as being a step away from Park’s usual type of haughty and sharp characters. Let’s hope the show can get its cast finalized soon!
Mr. Baek will follow Wednesday-Thursday drama My Spring Days and premieres in November.
- Jang Nara romances young grandpa Shin Ha-kyun in Mr. Baek
- Shin Ha-kyun to star in young-again fantasy drama Mr. Baek
- Gap-dong: Episode 1
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- Jung Seok-won for Esquire
- Jung Seok-won and Yoon So-yi join IRIS 2
- Jung Seok-won headlines naval war film
- I Love Lee Tae-ri: Episode 1
- Mr. Idol’s posters, stills, and teaser
- My Princess: Episode 1